68% Say Worst of COVID-19 is Over

  • Large Majorities Comfortable Doing Traditional Summer Activities, But 47% Worried about Getting Sick
  • Pandemic Effects: Half Gained Weight, 38% Got in Shape, 51% Felt Depressed, 44% Developed New Hobby
  • Fall Predictions: 71% – Schools will Re-Open to Full In-Person Instruction, 76% – Remote Work to Continue, 50% – NY Will Experience Virus Resurgence

Press Release     Crosstabs

Loudonville, NY – Sixty-eight percent of New Yorkers now think that the worst of the coronavirus pandemic is over while only 17 percent think the worst is still to come. As we move into summer in New York over 70 percent are at least somewhat comfortable having friends over to their home (84 percent), going to a beach or lakefront (80 percent), going on vacation in the U.S. (78 percent) and eating indoors at a restaurant (77 percent) according to a new statewide survey of residents released today by the Siena College Research Institute (SCRI). At the same time, 47 percent are somewhat or very worried about they or a family member becoming sick with the coronavirus.

Over the course of the pandemic, 49 percent of New Yorkers have gained weight while 38 percent say that they have gotten in shape. Fifty-one percent have felt depressed during the pandemic while 44 percent say that they have developed a new interest or hobby. Looking to the fall, 76 percent think it somewhat or very likely that many New Yorkers will continue to work remotely, 71 percent expect public schools will reopen to full in-person instruction without teachers or students wearing masks while by 50-42 percent they think it likely that the state will experience a resurgence of COVID-19 infections.

“As most New Yorkers emerge from the coronavirus nightmare, some heavier, some in better shape and some dealing with mental health effects, most are comfortable spending time with friends, going to the beach or finally taking a vacation,” said SCRI’s Director, Don Levy. “But despite fewer than one in five thinking the worst is still to come, nearly half remain worried about getting sick and 50 percent say it is at least somewhat likely that in the fall New York will experience a resurgence of COVID-19 infections.”

“While the vast majority are at least somewhat comfortable with summer activities like going to the beach or entertaining friends, only small majorities are comfortable seeing a movie at an indoor theater, attending a professional sporting event or being in a public space around many people that may or may not be wearing a mask,” Levy said. “And a majority, 57 percent are not comfortable going on a vacation outside the U.S.

“Looking to the fall, New Yorkers provide a mixed bag of hopefulness, concern and a recognition of a new world as we try to put the worst of the coronavirus behind us,” Levy said. “Sixty-nine percent think it somewhat or very likely that in the fall for many of us, it will feel like COVID-19 is over but simultaneously, half anticipate a resurgence. Over seventy percent think schools will reopen in-person without masks but 72 percent expect many schools and workplaces will continue to encourage both social distancing and the wearing of masks”

“And our lives may be different in other ways as well. Over three-quarters expect many New Yorkers will continue to work remotely and two-thirds predict it will be commonplace for New Yorkers to be asked to show proof of vaccination,” Levy said.

“While we haven’t made it back to living like we did prior to COVID-19, we’ve come a long way. At the end of last summer, only 34 percent thought the worst is over, today 68 percent say so,” Levy said. “At the end of last summer, only 38 percent said that they were comfortable dining indoors in a restaurant, today 77 percent do. The pandemic may be on the run and with 73 percent telling us that they have been vaccinated, many New Yorkers are getting back to who and what they enjoy, but the memories of this dark period won’t soon be left completely behind.”

This Siena College Poll was conducted June 16-29, 2021 by random telephone calls to 404 New York adults via landline and cell phones and 405 responses drawn from a proprietary online panel of New Yorkers. Respondent sampling via phone was initiated by asking for the youngest person in the household. The overall results has an overall margin of error of +/- 4.2 percentage points including the design effects resulting from weighting, Telephone sampling was conducted via a stratified dual frame probability sample of landline (from ASDE Survey Sampler) and cell phone (from Dynata) telephone numbers from within New York State weighted to reflect known population patterns. Data from the telephone and web samples were blended and statistically adjusted by age, race/ethnicity, gender and party to ensure representativeness. The Siena College Research Institute, directed by Donald Levy, Ph.D., conducts political, economic, social and cultural research primarily in NYS. SCRI, an independent, non-partisan research institute, subscribes to the American Association of Public Opinion Research Code of Professional Ethics and Practices. For more information or comments, please call Dr. Don Levy at 518-783-2901. Survey cross-tabulations can be found at www.siena.edu/scri